March 15, 2010
Ugadi - Telugu New Year Day -Festival Importance
Hindus have always given pride of place to festivals, as it is a time for getting together as families. The occasion can be based on a seasonal change, a social or religious theme. The New year festival or Ugadi comes close on the heels of Holi. While the strong colors of Holi start fading away. Holy is the purification of the soul by imbibing Godly knowledge, inculcating the divine virtues. The aim is to replace the vices with Virtues. Symbolically, it signifies thanks giving to celebrate bounteous crops as well as signaling the end of an old era and the beginning of a new era.
Ugadi name has been changed from Yuga Aadi (Yuga + Aadi means "Beginning of New age"). The ages starting from a major reference point are Golden age, Silver age, Copper age and Iron age and also known in Hindi as Satyuga or Krutha yuga, Treta yuga, Dwapar yuga and Kaliyuga. The very end of Iron age i.e. the Kaliyuga is refer to hell or "Naraka" or the age of ignorance, which our Puranas or even in Srimath Bhagavath Gita mentioned that the Kaliyuga is "the night of the Brahma, the creator of new world and the Satyuga is the Day of Brahma".
It is believed that the creator of the Hindu pantheon Lord Brahma started creation on this day - Chaitra suddha padhyami or the Ugadi day. Also the great Indian Mathematician Bhaskaracharya's calculations proclaimed the Ugadi day from the sunrise on as the beginning of the new year, new month and new day. The onset of spring also marks a beginning of new life with plants (barren until now) acquiring new life, shoots and leaves. Spring is considered the first season of the year hence also heralding a new year and a new beginning. The vibrancy of life and verdant fields and meadows full of colorful blossoms signifies growth, prosperity and well-being.
It is believed that the Ugadi (Beginning of the yuga - Satyuga) will be the next age of the Eternal World Drama Cycle, i.e. after the Kaliyuga. The eternal world drama cycle repeats every 5000 years with 1250 years for each yuga as per the teachings of Prajapita Brahma kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya. It is the wonderful and colourful festival, because after the Holi (the purification of the soul by imbibing Godly knowledge, inculcating the divine virtues by replacing the vices with virtues) the New age, New yuga, and New era will be start. So, it is the time to change ourselves or to purify ourselves by inculcating the divine virtues.
Ugadi marks the beginning of a new Hindu lunar calendar with a change in the moon's orbit. It is a day when mantras are chanted and predictions made for the new year. Traditionally, the panchanga shravanam or listening to the yearly calendar was done at the temples. Preparations for the festival begin a week ahead. Houses are given a thorough wash. Shopping for new clothes and buying other items that go with the requirements of the festival are done with a lot of excitement. It is said in Srimath Bhagavath Gita that the Body is the Cloth for the Soul, the eternal being, which takes many birth in the cyclic world drama (four yugas). When the eternal, imperishable soul takes new birth, i.e., takes new body as a kid, it is said that the soul wears a new cloth. Let us celebrate the Ugadi as a beginning of New age - Satyuga- of the world cycle.
On Ugadi day, people wake up before the break of dawn and take a head bath after which they decorate the entrance of their houses with fresh mango leaves. The significance of tying mango leaves relates to a legend. It is said that Kartik (or Subramanya or Kumara Swamy) and Ganesha, the two sons of Lord Siva and Parvathi were very fond of mangoes. As the legend goes Kartik exhorted people to tie green mango leaves to the doorway signifying a good crop and general well-being. In Spiritual terms it is said that the Lord Shiva, the Supreme Soul refer to the "Trimurthi Shiva" and also believed "Paramatma Shiva", the one who is the Supreme Lord of even for Brahma, Vishnu, Shankar (Trimurthi) and all other deities. As the Spiritual Father of all souls, we are the one who have right to get Peace, Prosperity, Health, Wealth and Happiness through the festival of Ugadi by changing ourselves or replacing the vices with divine virtues with the help of Spiritual or Godly knowledge.
It is noteworthy that we use mango leaves and coconuts (as in a Kalasam, to initiate any pooja) only on auspicious occasions to propitiate gods. People also splash fresh cow dung water on the ground in front of their house and draw colorful floral designs. This is a common sight in every household. People perform the ritualistic worship to God, invoking his blessings before they start off with the new year. They pray for their health, wealth and prosperity and success in business too.
Ugadi is also the most auspicious time to start new ventures. And they will take jaggery and Neem leaves also today because Jaggery represents joy and happiness and Neem leaves represents sorrow. So those souls who come in the entire cycle of World drama can celebrate Ugadi, because Jaggery represents Krutayuga and Tretayuga which is full of purity, prosperity and peace. Neem leaves represents Dwaparyuga and Kaliyuga which consists of sorrow, chaos and impurity.
Author Sri Vikram
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